Saul upset Lilywhites

Saul upset Lilywhites

12 September 2018

SAUL upset the odds with a magical display against a fancied Ballymartin at St Patrick’s Park on Saturday afternoon.

Manager Donnan Ritchie waved his wand to avenge an earlier defeat in the competition to the Lilywhites and send his side into the semi-finals.

Mind you, the Division 2 side could well have been out of sight early doors had it not been for the brilliance of Saul goalkeeper Gareth Brown, who denied Cathal Doyle and Noel Kerr almost certain goals with two brilliant saves.

Early points from Rory Mullen, Niall Laverty and Cathail Arnold had Saul supporters drooling before Peter Fitzpatrick got Ballymartin on the scoreboard in the fifth minute.

There is no doubt that Saul were the hungrier side and by playing Arnold in a deeper role and the Harney brothers and Niall Laverty as a mobile full forward line, Ritchie’s men regained the initiative with converted frees from Arnold and Caolan Magee to take a 0-5 to 0-1 lead.

Ryan McCulla and Doyle kept Ballymartin in touch before Danny Curran, Ciaran Harney and Arnold (0-2, including a 45) sent Saul in at the break with a 0-9 to 0-3 lead.

Points from Magee and Ciaran Harney stretched Saul’s lead to eight points at the start of the second half, but Doyle retaliated for Ballymartin with a point from play in the 35th minute.

Arnold and Fitzpatrick swapped points before Magee pointed Saul into a 0-13 to 0-5 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

Ballymartin were then awarded a penalty, but Doyle blasted the ball high and wide.

Saul were then caught cold when Peter Fitzpatrick took a quick 21m free and drilled the ball past an unguarded goal.

Saul were not for allowing Ballymartin back into the game and a point from Ciaran Harney and a goal from Danny Curran, following a sweeping move, saw them jump into a 1-14 to 1-5 lead with six minutes remaining.

Doyle and Ciaran Harney swapped points in the closing stages, but there was only going to be one winner as Saul marched boldly into the semi-finals.

Saul: G Brown, C Byrne, A King, D Toner, J Mahoney, S Higgins, C Mahoney, R Mullen (0-1), P Laverty, C Arnold (0-5, 1f, 1 45), D Curran (1-1), C Magee (0-3, 1f), N Laverty (0-1), C Harney (0-4), L Harney. Subs: D Napier for Higgins, M McGrady for Byrne, M Curran for Arnold C Laverty for D Curran, G Robinson for McGrady, J Morgan for Mahoney

Ballymartin: C Trainor, S Harpur, M Wheelan, J Doran, M Cunningham, A Crawford, N Kerr, A Doran, J Caldwell, C Doyle (0-3), P Fitzpatrick (1-2, 2f), R McCulla (0-1), R Phillips, E Smith, S Hughes. Subs: R Quinn for Phillips, C Fitzpatrick for McCulla, M Higgins for Smith, N Greene for Caldwell, M Quinn for Hughes.

Saul 1-15

Ballymartin 1-6